Ecuador surprised me. There were so many things about the country that I didn’t know and wasn’t expecting. From the beautiful city of Quito that sits majestically on the hills, to the jungles of the rainforest — Ecuador is a country of diversity. I was blessed to see so much of it’s beauty during my ten day stay.
Our first days were spent with missionaries who are reaching many of the diverse people groups of Ecuador. We made our headquarters in the wonderful city of Cumbaya. Cumbaya sits in the valley about a 25 minute drive from Quito. Surrounded by mountains, it provides beautiful views from every angle.
There we met Melissa, a medical doctor who is working hard to open a crisis pregnancy center. Ecuador has the highest rate of adolescent pregnancy in South America. Sadly, teen girls who become pregnant are at a high risk for adverse outcomes. In developing countries, complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death in young women aged 15 to 19.* Melissa’s desire is to open a center where women in the Cumbaya valley area can come to get information, free medical help, and learn about the love that God has for them. The center would help young mothers understand the opportunities for adoption and support if they choose to keep the child. Once the baby is born, the center would give the young mothers an opportunity to provide for themselves and their new baby through a sustainable work program. We are excited as we pray about ways that Hearts & Hope can partner with Melissa in the days ahead to help the young women of Cumbaya.
We also met Will and Laura Lyon. Will and Laura, with their two adorable boys, have moved to Ecuador to work with the people living in the remote villages of the Andes mountains. The indigenous villages in northern Ecuador are in great need. They still do not have a Bible available in their language, many villages have never been reached with the gospel, and their culture often serves as a barrier to outsiders. God has worked miraculously in opening doors for the Lyon family to move into their first village and begin the work. Will and Laura are sensitive to the unique needs of the people in the villages and as a result they have learned the needs of the women. In the days ahead, our desire is to help them come alongside these women and provide the encouragement and resources they need for growth and support.
Please pray with us for Ecuador. Pray that God will continue to provide for the needs of Melissa and the Lyon Family. Pray for doors to open wide so they can effectively minister as God has called them to do. Also pray for the many who need the hope that can only be found in Jesus.
*(Maternal-perinatal morbidity and mortality associated with adolescent pregnancy in Latin America: Cross-sectional study. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology. Feb 2005;192(2):342-349.)